Start with Strengths

Strengths psychology is based on the premise that instead of focusing on what is wrong with people, we should focus on what is right with people. Imagine if you were able to do only the things that you do best at work. How productive would you be? Each of us has a unique set of talents that we are born with. Think about what your talents might be. What do people consistently recognize you for? What comes naturally to you? Now answer the following questions below. If you respond “yes” to these questions, they might give you some insight as to whether you have talents in those areas.


  1. Do you have a color-coded, or otherwise very organized closet?
  2. Do you find it easy to talk to anyone anywhere, whether it is in elevators, supermarkets or while waiting in line?
  3. Do you find it easy to relate to others, their pains and joys?
  4. Do you enjoy puzzles and board games?
  5. Are you considered the “fixer” in your family? Are you always solving problems?
  6. Do you feel like it’s difficult to let go of work, even on vacation?
  7. Do your strong beliefs guide what you do everyday?
  8. Is it easy  for you to stay on a diet or regimen?
  9. Are you competitive by nature, even when there is no competition?

If you answered “yes” to several of these questions, they might clue you into whether you might have talents or strengths in that particular area. Notice that while some were an absolute “yes”, others might be a resounding “no”. For me, I know I lack discipline and self-control, and staying on a regimen to me sounds almost torturous. So a job where repetition is important may not be the best job for me.

Knowing what your strengths are is not only important because it is a frequent job interview question, but also because it had tremendous implications in unlocking your potential at work, and in your personal life. By knowing what makes you tick and understanding how strengths play into your day-to-day, you’ll be able to strategically utilize your strengths while managing around your weaknesses. What do I mean about managing around your weaknesses? Perhaps it is finding a partner at work who had different strengths from you, or perhaps it is minimizing the types of tasks that don’t play on your strengths and talents. That way, you can maximize your success by engaging in projects that increase your opportunities for success.

Research in strengths have consistently demonstrated that people who have the opportunity to do what they do best everyday are not only more successful, they are more engaged. In fact,

People who respond positively to the question, “I have the opportunity to do what I do best everyday.” are 6 times more likely to be engaged and 3 times more likely to report an excellent quality of life in general.

— Gallup

People who are working in their strengths zone look forward to going to work, have more positive than negative interactions with their colleagues, treat customers better, tell their friends that they work at a great company, achieve more on a daily basis and have more positive, creative and innovative moments.

Now take some time, to think about your strengths. What are you known for at work? You might be the go-to person for this. Are you particularly strong in coming up with fresh, new ideas? Are you able to make the world’s greatest, most organized Excel spreadsheets with built in formulas and pivot tables? Maybe you’re the go-to girl for winning over new customers. Take a moment to think about where you truly sparkle at work. Write down three things that you’re known for, which we’ll call, your strengths.

Now that you have three strengths written down, think about how much time you spend utilizing these strengths at work. How much of your week is spent doing the things that you’re naturally good at? How much time is spent doing things that you might struggle with, or not enjoy? These might be great opportunities to take a look at how you are spending your time, and readjust.

Published by

Positively Sparkle

About Nikki Nikki specializes in strategic leadership, engagement, team development and enhancing performance and relationships at work. Her passions include helping teams and leaders discover the best versions of themselves in order to build engagement and promote business results. Guided by cutting edge research on adult learning principles and positive psychology, her approach is always to engage the learner through meaningful activities and inspirational breakthroughs. Nikki has a Master's of Arts in Positive Organizational Psychology from Claremont Graduate University and has extensive experience both in the Fortune 500 retail and health care sectors in New York City. In her spare time, Nikki is a baker, home decorator, event planner and event stylist. She loves to cook and entertain friends. She owns and operates Confections by Nikki, a boutique dessert and event styling business offering small-batch and personalized sweets, dessert table set-up and event consulting. To learn more, go to www.confectionsbynikki.com. Nikki currently resides in Astoria, New York with her husband Chris and pug, JJ. She lives to inspire others and leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes.

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